How Love You Candle Co. Finds Success With Seasonal Products
The candle-making business, like many home and garden industries, is dependent on the season. Different seasons demand different scents! Pumpkin spice for fall, balsam and pine for winter, lemon for summer, and so on. But how exactly should you create seasonal collections?
Sandee Varela, founder of Love You Candle Co., gives us her best tips on how to incorporate seasonal limited run products in this exclusive interview. Learn how she broke into the booming candle industry, how she creates attractive seasonal lines and candle labels, and what she does to keep her business growing.
How did you get into candle making and start Love You Candle Co.?
At the start of 2020 I was working as an executive assistant at an aviation consulting firm. Then, COVID hit. While my boss kept me on as long as possible, I was furloughed like many others.
Being furloughed sent my anxiety through the roof. My doctor suggested finding a crafty hobby to help. I tried crafting and painting, but I’d never thought of myself as a crafty person.
It all changed when I made my first candle. I put on my headphones and followed the instructions. I liked how it made me feel.
We often expect negative thoughts while we’re caught up in life (and the pandemic), but there are so many things that can bring positivity, big and small. Like candles! After all, when you smell something good, what do you do? You smile!
I knew I was onto something. So I started posting on Instagram and Facebook, and friends and family started asking me to make them candles. From there, Love You Candle Co. took off.
How did you decide to name your business Love You Candle Co.?
Love You Candle Co. started as a way to help with my anxiety. Another thing I do to help is practice self compassion. Every single day I look in the mirror and tell myself "I love you."
That’s why I named my business Love You Candle Co. I want "Love You" to be a reminder of self-love, and being kind to oneself. The pandemic has brought to light how severe mental health issues are for people of all ages. Love You Candle Co. is my solution to spread more healing love.
You have a collection for every season! How do you come up with new products and seasonal lines?
My creative process starts in my office by myself with no distractions in the evening. I’ll have a glass of wine, music on full blast, and start a mood board for my new seasonal collection. Once I get a sense of my direction, I put it on my whiteboard. Having a visual aid helps me see if my ideas make sense.
The trick is to make sure I don’t go overboard. I ask myself questions like, "How many scents do I put out for this collection? What’s too much or too little?" How much is trickier to narrow down than what.
I also have to factor in if I’m going to have time. I have a full time job as an accounting consultant, and a family. I have to test out my custom-blended scents before I put them on the market, which takes more time.
Being time-conscious, I decide if the season is one I’m going to fall in love with. For example, I don’t do anything besides custom candle orders for Valentine’s Day. It’s a one-day holiday, so it takes me more time to create the scents than I’ll have to sell them. That may change someday, but for now these are the factors I take into consideration.
How do you ensure your designs look consistent across products?
I use Canva to create my labels and send them to Online Labels to print. In fact, my top YouTube video is about how I design my labels!
What I love about Canva is that you can duplicate designs and save a Brand Kit with your brand’s fonts, logos, and colors. My Canva is full of drafts that I don’t delete because I never know when I’m going to use a draft for a new design.
The hardest part of making candles is designing my own labels. I am my own worst critic. For instance, it took me two months to complete my holiday collection after picking out my scents because creating my labels takes the longest time.
How did you find OnlineLabels.com? What made you choose them over other brands?
I used Avery at first. Then one day I thought to see if they had a competitor. I found Online Labels on Google and decided to do a test run from both companies.
The difference in quality was noticeable and Online Labels won out.
What I like about Online Labels over Avery is that my labels come out printed with no blank border around it, so I get more labels for the space. Online Labels also works with my own laser printer better than Avery. Finally, I like how I can print labels straight from my browser instead of having to download them as a PDF, which is what Avery requires.
Do you use OnlineLabels.com for anything other than product labels?
Your social media is POPPING with gorgeous product photos, an Amazon Favorites store, and a YouTube channel for fellow candlemakers. How do you plan out your social media strategy?
I’ve been helping my husband’s ecommerce marketing business, Rezolutions Design, as a social media consultant for years, so social media is a comfortable space for me. My intention for social media is to stay connected with my customers and community.
I want the Love You Candle Co. Instagram to feel non-scripted, like I’m sharing what’s needed to be shared with my followers at the moment — not what was on my content calendar. I focus on quality over quantity of posts. I keep my customers up-to-date on what’s in and out of stock and what’s new. I never want to lose touch with my customers because they give me feedback and help me grow.
My YouTube channel helps candle making newbies who have been at it for 3 years or less and are still in the testing phase. YouTube was not my go-to — I’m very camera shy! I was motivated after coming across candle making videos where the delivery of the message was so fast that I didn’t understand. So, I put myself on the other side of the camera. My intention was to go slow and make content for non-candle makers. It’s worked because one of the main comments I get is how easy-to-follow my videos are.
You’re 2 years into building your business. How do you continue growing?
I’m rebranding! Love You Candle Co. is going to live inside a new home decor boutique I’m working on. We’ll be offering an array of unique products, including room sprays, soaps, bath salts, bath bombs, and more, from myself and other local artisans. I’ll be announcing the full details of my rebranding soon on the Love You Candle Co. YouTube Channel!
Rebranding can be a scary move. Lots of business owners can see it as starting over. But I know I’m not starting from ground zero. I have experience and exposure, which creates anticipation among my customer base. I think that’s important to remember when taking a business in a different direction.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to new candle businesses?
Don’t compare yourself to others. You don’t know someone else's story. So enjoy your own journey and learn from it. Don’t be discouraged if you don't get those sales right away. Instead, keep networking and building community. You can’t control what people do online, but you can control how much effort you put into building true relationships.
I got into wholesale selling by focusing on the small business community here in Orlando. I designed flyers on Canva outlining what shops could get out of carrying my candles, along with free wax melts. I handed them out at my salon, my husband’s barber shop, and anywhere else I could.
Don’t be afraid to be another person selling candles! Candle buyers don’t typically buy all their candles from one shop. And candles burn quickly and always need to be replenished. There is plenty of opportunity for your candles in this world.
Whether you’re starting a candle business or starting a seasonal line, we hope this advice from Sandee Varela of Love You Candle Co. was helpful! Ready to get started? Check out our selection of candle labels, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more content like this!